Steve Bruce would ‘love’ Arsenal star Joe Willock at Newcastle on permanent deal

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce admits he’d ‘love’ to sign Arsenal’s Joe Willock permanently this summer after midfielder’s red-hot run of form has helped steer them clear of trouble

  • Joe Willock has made a significant impact since joining Newcastle this year
  • The midfielder scored for a fourth successive match in the win at Leicester 
  • Steve Bruce admitted he wants to try and sign Willock permanently this summer 

Steve Bruce has admitted he would love to sign Arsenal midfielder Joe Willock permanently this summer. 

The 21-year-old has been a standout performer for Newcastle since joining on loan from Arsenal back in February, playing a key role to help them climb up the table away from relegation trouble.

Willock scored in his fourth successive match on Friday as the Magpies shocked Leicester City with a 4-2 victory on the road.

In-form Newcastle midfielder Joe Willock scored for the fourth game in a row in Leicester win

The midfielder has also grabbed goals against Southampton, Tottenham, West Ham and Liverpool for Newcastle. 

Bruce, who has seen the pressure around his position relieved in recent weeks, thanks in part to Willock, said he will attempt to sign him in the summer. 

‘All of us would love to [make it permanent],’ Bruce told talkSPORT.

‘He’s 21, a midfield player and he’s got five goals since the turn of the year, so of course we want him – but we have to respect that he’s Arsenal’s player.

Steve Bruce admitted he will be trying to sign Willock permanently from Arsenal this summer

Steve Bruce admitted he will be trying to sign Willock permanently from Arsenal this summer

‘I’m sure Arsenal will have big discussions this summer, but if there’s a possibility that we can bring him back we’d love to do it.’

The Newcastle boss also insisted he would not sell star man Allan Saint-Maximin.

Discussing the winger’s future, he added: ‘I said when we signed him he was going to be someone who gets you off the edge of your seat and how often do you feel like that about an individual player?

‘He has wonderful natural ability and it wouldn’t surprise me if other teams are looking because his ability is there for everybody to see.

‘He is a very gifted individual and young, of course. The last thing we want to be doing is selling our better players that is for sure.’ 

The Newcastle manager also discussed the future of their star man Allan Saint-Maximin (right)

The Newcastle manager also discussed the future of their star man Allan Saint-Maximin (right)

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Andres Iniesta signs new two-year deal with Vissel Kobe on his 37th birthday

Andres Iniesta signs new two-year deal with Japanese side Vissel Kobe on his 37th birthday – meaning Barcelona legend is set to continue playing until he’s almost 40

  • Andrea Iniesta has confirmed he will continue playing professional football 
  • The Barcelona legend signed a new two-year deal with Vissel Kobe on Tuesday 
  • Iniesta penned the deal on his 37th birthday and will continue until almost 40
  • Spaniard has lifted the Emperor’s Cup and Japanese Super Cup with Vissel so far

Andres Iniesta has delighted football fans around the world by signing a new two-year deal with Vissel Kobe.

The living football legend will continue on until nearly 40-years-old, after refusing to hang up his boots and putting pen to paper on an extension in Japan.

Iniesta signed the deal on his 37th birthday, as Vissel took to social media to delight in the prolonged stay of the Barcelona icon.

Football legend Andres Iniesta has committed to two more years of playing with Vissel Kobe

Iniesta announced the news on his 37th birthday and says he is excited for the future

Iniesta announced the news on his 37th birthday and says he is excited for the future

Iniesta will now remain at The Noevir Stadium Kobe in a playing capacity until 2023, and says he is already excited about what the future could bring.

After inking his deal on Tuesday, Iniesta said: ‘Three years ago, we announced an exciting project here in Tokyo.

‘The new challenge was a big one for me and my family. I am grateful to the chairman and the people involved in the club for their continued trust even after three years.

Vissel proudly showed off Iniesta on social media after tying the Barcelona legend down

Vissel proudly showed off Iniesta on social media after tying the Barcelona legend down

‘Although it was a difficult period, we have built up history, such as winning titles for the club. Today is a special day.

‘The most important thing for me is to feel that people around me value me. I want to continue with the passion I had when I came three years ago.’

Iniesta has amassed 77 appearances across all competitions for Vissel over the past three seasons in Japan, providing 16 goals and 18 assists to the J-League outfit’s cause.

During his time with the Asian club Iniesta has lifted the Emperor’s Cup and Japanese Super Cup.

Iniesta left Barca in 2018, after establishing himself as one of the best midfielders in the modern game.

The World Cup winner departed the Nou Camp with a record of 57 goals and 139 assists in 674 games, winning 30 trophies along the way – including nine La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns.

Iniesta left Barcelona in 2018 with nine La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns

Iniesta left Barcelona in 2018 with nine La Liga titles and four Champions League crowns

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Yves Bissouma ‘requests Brighton exit this summer’ alerting Liverpool and Arsenal

Yves Bissouma ‘requests Brighton exit this summer’ putting Liverpool and Arsenal on red alert – with Jurgen Klopp having ‘researched player’s character’ to determine if he can replace Georginio Wijnaldum

  • Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma is set to be a man in demand this summer 
  • The Mali international has reported asked to be allowed to leave the club 
  • Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City are said to have be placed on alert 
  • It is claimed Jurgen Klopp has already done background research on Bissouma 

Brighton star Yves Bissouma has reportedly asked to be allowed to leave the club this summer, amid rising interest from a host of Premier League giants.

The Mali international has had a sublime season at the AMEX and has emerged as one of the top flight’s most consistent performers.

Now, with a host of suitors queuing up, 24-year-old Bissouma has requested to depart at the end of the season in order to further his career, according to the Times.

Yves Bissouma has reportedly requested to leave Brighton amid Liverpool and Arsenal interest

It is claimed that Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City have all already inquired about the availability of the Mali star as they seek to strengthen in midfield ahead of the coming campaign.

French giants Marseille are also said to have shown a willingness to bring Bissouma back to Ligue 1.

Liverpool have emerged as one of the side's monitoring Bissouma after a sublime season

Liverpool have emerged as one of the side’s monitoring Bissouma after a sublime season

According to the Times, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has ‘spent time personally researching Bissouma’s character and off-field behaviour in order to assess whether the player would be a good fit for his Anfield squad.’

Widespread reports have linked Bissouma to Merseyside for some time, with the midfielder tipped as a potential long-term replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum.

The Dutchman is set to leave Anfield at the end of the campaign as a free agent, after failing to agree a new contract with the Reds.

Barcelona and Bayern Munich are touted as the most likely destinations for Wijnaldum to move on to.

Jurgen Klopp is reported to have already been checking out the character of Bissouma

Jurgen Klopp is reported to have already been checking out the character of Bissouma

Bissouma however is said to have a preference to join a Champions League side, with Klopp’s Liverpool struggling to nail down a top four finish and Arsenal poised to miss out on European competition completely.

City’s interest in Bissouma is less intense, according to the Times, who state any possible summer move will ‘depend on pricing of alternative options and the potential extension of Fernandinho’s contract.’

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Juventus ‘reject Barcelona’s pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt’… with Spanish giants keen on centre back

Juventus ‘reject Barcelona’s renewed pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt’… with Spanish giants back in for Dutch centre back having missed out on him in 2019 to their European rivals

  • LaLiga contenders Barcelona are reportedly interested again in Matthijs de Ligt
  • Barca missed out when Juventus took the Holland centre back to Serie A in 2019
  • A bid is said to have been hinted at during talks over the European Super League
  • De Ligt signed a five-year contract at Juve when he signed from Ajax for £67.8m 

Barcelona have failed in a renewed attempt to prise Holland centre back Matthijs de Ligt from Juventus, according to reports.

LaLiga hopefuls Barca missed out on De Ligt when he joined Juve as a teenage sensation in 2019, signing for £67.8million after helping Ajax reach the 2018/19 Champions League semi-finals and win the Eredivisie title.

Barca had wanted De Ligt to join at the same time as fellow Holland prodigy Frenkie de Jong, who completed his move from the Dutch giants for £65million that summer.

Juventus faced competition from Barcelona for Matthijs de Ligt when he joined them from Ajax

The Spanish giants signed Frenkie de Jong from Ajax in 2019 and had wanted De Ligt to follow

The Spanish giants signed Frenkie de Jong from Ajax in 2019 and had wanted De Ligt to follow

De Ligt has not hit the heights in Turin that the 21-year-old did with Ajax, suffering successive early Champions League exits and missing out on the Serie A title this season for the first time in 10 years.

The Nations League winner only overcame a serious shoulder problem earlier this season, although he has been ever-present for Juventus in their last nine games, setting up Alex Sandro’s opener and scoring a second-half header in the 3-1 win over Parma in their last home game.

Ronald Koeman knows De Ligt from his spell as Holland manager and Barca bosses mentioned De Ligt during talks with Juventus over the failed European Super League, AS has reported.

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman (centre) knows De Ligt from his time in charge of Holland

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman (centre) knows De Ligt from his time in charge of Holland

Juventus reportedly dismissed the idea of De Ligt being reunited with De Jong, preferring to keep hold of the man who signed a five-year deal when he moved to Italy.

Koeman remains on the hunt for new defenders, with an eye on a successor to veteran centre back Gerard Pique.

France defender Samuel Umtiti has suffered with injuries this season, and former target David Alaba eventually agreed to join arch-rivals Real Madrid from Bayern Munich.

De Ligt and De Jong's reputations rose at Ajax - and Barcelona remain eager to reunite the duo

De Ligt and De Jong’s reputations rose at Ajax – and Barcelona remain eager to reunite the duo

De Ligt was unimpressed after Juventus drew 1-1 at Fiorentina two weeks ago as part of a run that has seen the dethroned champions keep only one clean sheet in 11 matches.

The defender told Sky Sport Italia: ‘We need more intensity, more courage with the ball. We have to defend better.

‘We were thinking about the Scudetto, but now the target is to finish second. We are strong and we must aim high.’ 

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Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge ‘targeted by Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa’

Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge ‘targeted by Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa’ with in-demand star’s release clause ‘dropping to £35m’ after Blades’ top-flight relegation

  • A number of Premier League clubs are keen on Sheffield United’s Sander Berge 
  • Berge has caught the eye this season and his release clause stands at £35million 
  • Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa have all been tipped to attempts swoops soon 
  • United will struggle to keep Berge after his price dropped following relegation 

A host of Premier League clubs are eyeing up a swoop for highly-rated Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge, according to reports.

The 23-year-old has been absent through injury since the turn of the year but has managed to catch the eye – and his release clause now stands at £35million, a drop of £10m as a result of United’s relegation to the Championship.

Berge’s reasonable price tag, which has been revealed by Yorkshire Live, may spark a bidding war this summer with Arsenal, Everton and Aston Villa among the teams who might make a move.

Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge’s release clause is £35m as a number of clubs circle

It was initially reported by Sky Sports on Friday that Berge, who returned to action last weekend after a four-month spell on the treatment table, is in demand. 

Mikel Arteta has been touted to reinforce his Arsenal squad during the transfer window with the midfield a particular area potentially identified for improvement.

Villa, meanwhile, have been labelled as ‘long-term suitors’ for Berge. Everton could also lodge an offer. 

Berge may attract a bidding war this summer and the midfielder looks set to exit Bramall Lane

Berge may attract a bidding war this summer and the midfielder looks set to exit Bramall Lane

It is likely United will struggle to keep Berge beyond this ill-fated campaign despite their wish to have a crack at immediate promotion with roughly the same team.

The Bramall Lane outfit will not be able to command an exorbitant figure for him, however, with the release clause leaving them vulnerable. 

Yorkshire Live also say that Berge has not actively pushed for a move away but his future, in comparison to some of his team-mates, is in doubt.

The versatile former Genk man, who is capable of playing all manner of midfield roles, arrived last January for £22m.

Mikel Arteta could swoop for Berge to strengthen his midfield at Arsenal

Carlo Ancelotti's Everton have also recently been touted to try and sign Berge

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta (left) and Everton’s Carlo Ancelotti (right) may both swoop for Berge

Berge was introduced off the bench in the chastening 4-0 defeat at Tottenham last weekend but is now in line to make his first start after recovering from injury against Crystal Palace today.

Sky have claimed that Berge is a popular figure at the club and content there, but the Norway international believes his future lies away from the strugglers.

Also linked to Berge are, sensationally, Manchester City and Liverpool.

Berge caught the eye despite having been ruled out through injury since the turn of the year

Berge caught the eye despite having been ruled out through injury since the turn of the year

The two heavyweights are reportedly ready to make a surprise move for him, with City having identified him as a potential replacement for Fernandinho, according to Voetbal24 in Belgium.

City’s veteran captain, 35, may leave the Etihad when his deal runs down.

As for Liverpool, Eurosport say they are weighing up a switch for Berge as the club look to also add to their options in midfield.

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Should Man United break the bank to sign Harry Kane or stick with Edinson Cavani?

Of the eight goals Manchester United scored in their Europa League semi-final against Roma, Edinson Cavani scored four of them and set up a further three.

The Uruguayan striker is enjoying a rich vein of form and it looks like the 34-year-old is tempted to extend his stay at Old Trafford.

But will a strike force that combines Cavani with Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood be good enough to challenge for the top honours?

Edinson Cavani has been excellent for Manchester United in recent weeks as they have made it through to the final of the UEFA Europa League against Villarreal 

It increasingly looks as though Cavani will be part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's plans next season

It increasingly looks as though Cavani will be part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans next season

But the question remains over whether United need to splash out on a top-class striker such as England captain Harry Kane in order to compete for the major prizes

But the question remains over whether United need to splash out on a top-class striker such as England captain Harry Kane in order to compete for the major prizes 

There is an argument that in order to take the next step and compete properly in the Premier League title race and the Champions League, United must splash out on a world-class striker – and Harry Kane is top of the shopping list.

So do Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side need to go out and sign a new forward or does Cavani’s form suggest they have enough firepower as it is?

Sportsmail’s ADAM SHERGOLD and LUKE AUGUSTUS offer both sides of the argument. 

WHY UNITED MUST SIGN KANE

BY ADAM SHERGOLD

Edinson Cavani has proved a wonderful signing for Manchester United, the Uruguayan striker enjoying a shimmering Indian summer in his fine career.

But for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team to take the next step and challenge for the major honours rather than merely the Europa League, big money needs to be spent on a new striker this summer.

That’s not to say that Cavani should be let go. A one-year contract extension should be offered to the 34-year-old if he wants it, a just reward for his 14 goals.

It would be an insult, however, to the tangible progress United have made under Solskjaer over the past 12 months if the Glazer family didn’t back him in the market.

Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland is another striker set to be in serious demand this summer

Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland is another striker set to be in serious demand this summer

Kane cuts a dejected figure as Tottenham lose out to Man City in the Carabao Cup final

Kane cuts a dejected figure as Tottenham lose out to Man City in the Carabao Cup final

United are a top quality centre forward and centre half away from giving Manchester City a real run for their money in next season’s Premier League and going deep in the Champions League.

And that forward needs to be either Harry Kane or Erling Haaland. Given the intense competition and inevitable bidding war for Haaland, you’d say Kane is the more likely option.

England’s captain has enjoyed another excellent season with 31 goals and 16 assists for Tottenham. He has added further strings to his bow by becoming a more rounded forward.

He is, at the age of 27, the complete centre forward and entering his prime. Yet he still doesn’t have a single piece of silverware to his name.

Spurs’ meek defeat to City in the Carabao Cup final must have confirmed to Kane that if he doesn’t agitate for a move away soon then he will never fulfil his ambitions in the game.

Kane must realise that in order to achieve his ambitions he must leave Tottenham soon

Kane must realise that in order to achieve his ambitions he must leave Tottenham soon

United can make a strong case to him. Solskjaer can argue to Kane that he will be the missing piece, their No 1 striker for the next five years with the service to score at least 30 times a season.

If United add a reliable 30-goal striker to their ranks, they will be in the mix for every trophy.

Fail to move for Kane now and stick with Cavani and Anthony Martial for another year and chances are United will completely lose out and set themselves back years.

As Rio Ferdinand said in the BT Sport studio on Thursday night: ‘I worry about what you do if you let Kane and Haaland go somewhere else.’

And as Paul Scholes added: ‘United are a club that need to sign a proper centre forward for the next five years. I’m talking a Kane or Haaland.

‘Cavani will slow down, fitness-wise, injury-wise (he) might not be great.’

Rio Ferdinand says United cannot miss the chance to secure a big name for the future

Paul Scholes admitted he does not see any of United's other current strikers becoming centre forwards

Rio Ferdinand (left) says United cannot miss the chance to secure a big name for the future while Paul Scholes does not see any of United’s other current forwards becoming strikers

Exactly. Yes, Daniel Levy will drive a hard bargain for Kane, asking upwards of £100million. But this is precisely what United’s endless commercialisation is for.

There’s also the potential factor of the Glazers trying to quell European Super League fan fury in the summer with a big-name capture.

But it’s also fundamentally about where United want to go. 

Are they content to plod along in the top four, getting within touching distance but not quite touching the silverware, as Pep Guardiola’s City create a Fergie-style dynasty of success with a Kane or Haaland banging in the goals?

Kane guarantees any team 30-plus goals per season and could take United to the next level

Kane guarantees any team 30-plus goals per season and could take United to the next level

Or do they want to go toe-to-toe for the title with City and Chelsea and Liverpool; compete for the Champions League with Bayern, Real and PSG?

When it comes to scoring goals, Kane is as close to a safe bet as it’s possible to get in football. He can take United to the next level. They must go all-out to sign him.

WHY UNITED SHOULD STICK WITH CAVANI

BY LUKE AUGUSTUS 

The grass isn’t always greener on the other side and both Manchester United and Edinson Cavani must remember this.

This unlikely partnership has blossomed into something special with the 34-year-old reinvigorated at Old Trafford and with the club benefitting tremendously from it.

There is no denying Harry Kane’s world-class abilities; he and Robert Lewandowski are the two best No 9s in the world.

However, with a reported £150million price-tag – and in a transfer market that is still reeling from the impact of coronavirus on club finances everywhere – United are arguably better off reinvesting that money on more glaring holes in the squad than Tottenham’s talisman.

Cavani delivered again for Manchester United with two sublime goals in Rome on Thursday

Cavani delivered again for Manchester United with two sublime goals in Rome on Thursday

The 34-year-old showed he is the main man up front and United's most natural goalscorer

The 34-year-old showed he is the main man up front and United’s most natural goalscorer

Just think about it for a second. Scoring goals hasn’t been a problem for the Red Devils this season, as their eight across their Europa League semi-final two legs with Roma proved. It’s keeping them out that has cost them.

A centre back and a holding central midfielder player are two priority positions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this summer if they are to challenge Premier League champions-elect Manchester City next season as well as to fare better than the Champions League group stages.

The likes of Villarreal’s Pau Torres and Sevilla’s Jules Kounde have been linked as potential centre-back signings this summer and they will cost north of £50m, while West Ham’s Declan Rice has a valuation of at least £70m if United are to try to make him their holding midfielder.

One of those centre backs plus Rice would result in a total of £120m. That’s a lot of money but would enable Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to play a more expansive and possession-based brand of football. 

United should spent their money on a quality holding midfielder like West Ham's Declan Rice

United should spent their money on a quality holding midfielder like West Ham’s Declan Rice

Signing a new centre half such as Jules Kounde of Sevilla should be United's main priority

Signing a new centre half such as Jules Kounde of Sevilla should be United’s main priority

For example, he would likely feel more secure playing Paul Pogba as one of the two midfield pivots alongside Rice – which would therefore free up a space in the wide areas for someone else.

Former United midfielder Owen Hargreaves also believes United should keep Cavani and reinvest elsewhere on the squad.

Speaking in the BT Studio during punditry duty after United’s clash with Roma, Hargreaves outlined: ‘Every ex-Man United player or fan wants Harry Kane or Haaland but the money that will cost now in the climate is just not realistic.

‘I think Cavani has done a wonderful job. Get him to sign a new deal and obviously there are no transfer payments there. Obviously he’s on big wages. I think they can spend that Haaland, Kane money on potentially three other players.’

Owen Hargreaves feels United should give Cavani a new deal and spend big money elsewhere

Owen Hargreaves feels United should give Cavani a new deal and spend big money elsewhere

Cavani has scored 14 goals in 34 appearances for the club since making his debut in October and his influence on and off the pitch is unquestioned. So, why change that?

His movement off the ball is world class and he has given Solskjaer’s side a dimension they have lacked up front during his entire managerial reign there.

The Uruguayan has the approval of his team-mates, which is a clear indicator of his value to his peers too.

Speaking before the second leg against Roma, Bruno Fernandes told BT Sport: ‘The most important thing with Edi for me is not the movement he does or the goals he scores but the way he helps off the ball.

‘People like to see numbers so see how much he runs each game – he’s normally in the top three and he’s a striker!

Cavani has built an impressive understanding with Bruno Fernandes (right) at United

Cavani has built an impressive understanding with Bruno Fernandes (right) at United

‘You see how he helps us defending, you see when he or someone else loses the ball he tries to recover it straight away and press.

‘The mentality he has is passing to us and he has to keep passing it to us because he has the right mentality to be a champion and we have to learn from that.

‘Everyone can see his technical qualities because he made history everywhere else he’s played and nobody can delete history.’

Mason Greenwood is huge beneficiary in learning under Cavani’s tutelage. The way Cavani stuck up for him after a spat with Roma defenders on Thursday night was a joy to see.

Now United must put up a fight and keep their No 7 for next season too.

Cavani jumped in to defend his team-mate Mason Greenwood from Roma defenders

Cavani jumped in to defend his team-mate Mason Greenwood from Roma defenders

The Uruguayan was furious as Rick Karsdorp and Gianluca Mancini confronted Greenwood

The Uruguayan was furious as Rick Karsdorp and Gianluca Mancini confronted Greenwood

Leicester, Leeds, Wolves and Aston Villa tracking Fleetwood Town teenage starlet Josh Feeney

Leicester, Leeds, Wolves and Aston Villa among the Premier League clubs tracking 16-year-old Fleetwood Town starlet Josh Feeney… with England and Scotland fighting over his allegiance

  • Several Premier League clubs are interested in Fleetwood Town’s Josh Feeney 
  • Leicester, Leeds, Wolves and Aston Villa have made contact over 16-year-old
  • England and Scotland have called Feeney up to their Under-16 level squads

Fleetwood Town’s highly-rated teenager Josh Feeney is attracting interest from a host of Premier League clubs and Celtic.

The imposing central defender, who only turned 16 this month, is building a growing reputation and has been named in each of Fleetwood’s last three matchday squads.

Wolves, Leicester City, Leeds United and Aston Villa are all understood to have made contact with the League One club over the past few months.

League One Fleetwood Town’s Josh Feeney is catching the eye of several Premier League club

Celtic may have an advantage if they formalise their pursuit given cross-border compensation fees are significantly lower for academy players.

Feeney has been called up for international camps by both England and Scotland at Under-16 level amid an ongoing battle for his allegiance.

The youngster has been promoted to Fleetwood’s first team group since the appointment of Simon Grayson as manager earlier in the campaign.

Fleetwood manager Simon Grayson (centre) promoted Feeney to the first team this season

Fleetwood manager Simon Grayson (centre) promoted Feeney to the first team this season

He will not travel to Ipswich Town for the Cod Army’s final game of the season, however, because exam season starts on Monday morning. 

Feeney would have become the sixth-youngest debutant in EFL history had he come off the bench against MK Dons last weekend.

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Manchester City ‘will weigh up move for West Ham’s Declan Rice’ if Fernandinho leaves

Manchester City ‘will weigh up move for West Ham star Declan Rice’ if captain Fernandinho chooses to leave at the end of the season – but may face competition with Manchester United and Chelsea also interested

  • Manchester City are the latest club to be linked with a swoop for Declan Rice 
  • West Ham midfielder Rice is highly admired by Pep Guardiola and his staff 
  • The Times claim that City may move for him if Fernandinho exits this summer 
  • Boss Guardiola is said to be adamant a replacement for the captain is needed

Manchester City are considering whether to make a move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice if Fernandinho leaves at the end of the season, according to reports.

Club captain Fernandinho, 36, will see his deal run down at the end of the next month and, while City are said to be open to tabling a 12-month extension, his future remains firmly up in the air.

As a result, as claimed by The Times, Rice may become a target this summer – although his hefty valuation may prove a stumbling block.

Manchester City will reportedly consider swooping for West Ham’s Declan Rice this summer

Fernandinho, who switched to the Etihad in 2013, delivered a stunning showing in the Champions League semi-final ties against Paris Saint-Germain and is an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s rampant team.

It is thought that the Brazil international will wait until the end of the campaign before making a decision over his future, however, and Guardiola is said to be keen to bring in a replacement.

The report says that Rice is one of ‘several options’ that the City boss and his coaching staff have discussed. 

City captain Fernandinho may leave at the end of the season despite a 12-month extension being touted

Pep Guardiola is adamant that a new defensive midfielder will be needed to replace Fernandinho

Pep Guardiola (right) moving for Rice may hinge on whether Fernandinho (left) leaves the club

Rice is said to be heavily admired at City although his price tag may prove a stumbling block

Rice is said to be heavily admired at City although his price tag may prove a stumbling block

It has even been suggested that Guardiola is a big admirer of the 22-year-old.

But despite this, recent comments from West Ham manager David Moyes may see City’s potential approach for Rice become an uphill struggle. 

Moyes previously said that it would take ‘Bank of England money’ to prise Rice away from the London Stadium and later doubled down on his stance by claiming his star man is worth ‘far, far more than £100million.’

City hold concerns that the price tag for Rice may simply be too high and the Premier League champions-in-waiting are unwilling to match it.

City are worried about the fees involved with David Moyes saying Rice is worth above £100m

City are worried about the fees involved with David Moyes saying Rice is worth above £100m

The Times also point towards the competition that Rice would face at the heart of City’s midfield with Rodri beginning to flourish. 

To further complicate matters, Chelsea and Manchester United are also understood to have held an interest in Rice. 

It was reported last month that Rice asked United players about the club during their time together on international duty for England. The Old Trafford giants continue to keep a close eye on the situation.

Rice reportedly asked his England team-mates about Manchester United on international duty

Rice reportedly asked his England team-mates about Manchester United on international duty

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) may also look to try and bring in Rice this summer

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (left) may also look to try and bring in Rice this summer

According to the Manchester Evening News, Rice gleaned knowledge about United from Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw in the build-up to England’s World Cup qualifying triple-header. 

The sacking of Frank Lampard in January may see Chelsea’s pursuit of their former academy starlet end, though, with the former Blues coach a driving force behind their attempts to sign him.

Meanwhile, although City are casting their eye towards strengthening for next season, they will win the top-flight title this weekend if they beat Chelsea.

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Tottenham’s striker search continues as Carlos Vinicius is set to return to Benfica

Tottenham face ANOTHER striker conundrum in the summer transfer window as Harry Kane’s back-up Carlos Vinicius is likely to return to Benfica following an unsuccessful stint with the club

  • Carlos Vinicius joined Tottenham in October to provide back-up to Harry Kane
  • Spurs had the option of buying him for £36million when his loan spell ends
  • He’s struggled for game time and been left out of three of the last four squads 
  • He’s only scored one Premier League goal from nine appearances for the side
  • Vinicius was the Primeira Liga’s top scorer last season, netting 18 times 

Tottenham are braced for another transfer window of trying to find a willing and able striker back-up to Harry Kane, as Carlos Vinicius is set to return to Benfica when his loan spell ends.

The 26-year-old joined Spurs in October on a year-long loan deal with the option of buying him for £36million, and the club thought they’d finally found a protege for Harry Kane.

But the striker has failed to make an impact and, according to Sky Sports, the club will not be expecting to trigger that deal, and are looking elsewhere. 

Carlos Vinicius is set to return to Benfica after scoring one goal in nine league appearances

With 10 goals in 22 appearances for the club, the Brazilian’s goalscoring return hasn’t been too bad, but only one of them has come from nine league appearances. He’s been left out of three of the last four matchday squads, including the Carabao Cup final.

He will be welcomed back at Benfica, where he scored 18 goals in 32 appearances for the side last season on his way to being the league’s top scorer.

It’s believed that Tottenham’s recruiting plans haven’t been affected by Jose Mourinho’s departure, and the hunt for a new striker remains the priority.

To make matters worse, Harry Kane’s own future at the club remains uncertain after going another season without lifting a trophy.  

Vinicius (left) has struggled to provide adequate back-up for Harry Kane (right) in the league

Vinicius (left) has struggled to provide adequate back-up for Harry Kane (right) in the league

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Erling Haaland ‘WILL play for Borussia Dortmund next season’ insists club sporting director

Erling Haaland ‘WILL play for Borussia Dortmund next season’ despite interest from Chelsea, Man United and Real Madrid, insists sporting director Sebastian Kehl… with Norwegian superstar believed to ‘completely identify’ with the German club

  • Borussia Dortmund are confident striker Erling Haaland will stay this summer
  • Haaland, 20, has a suite of top clubs looking to buy him for £150million-plus
  • But Dortmund director Sebastian Kehl said Haaland ‘identifies’ with the club 

Erling Haaland will not leave Borussia Dortmund this summer despite a host of suitors circling with potential £150million-plus bids, according to a top club executive.

Widely expected to be one of the hottest transfer prospects this summer, talk of Haaland’s departure from Dortmund was ignited by his agent Mino Raiola and his father going on a tour of Europe and meeting with several clubs to discuss the 20-year-old’s future. 

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are just some of the big names that are chasing Haaland’s signature.  

Dortmund sporting director Kehl (pictured) said Haaland 'completely identifies' with the club

Erling Haaland (left) will stay at Borussia Dortmund, according to Sebastian Kehl (right)

But Dortmund sporting director Sebastian Kehl insists he is confident that Haaland will remain at the club.

‘I understand that Erling Haaland will play for Borussia Dortmund in the new season,’ Kehl told the Sport1 broadcaster’s Doppelpass program.

‘Erling totally agrees. I see him every day and I can say that he completely identifies with the club,’ he said. 

Haaland's Dortmund future may depend on whether they make it into the Champions League

Haaland’s Dortmund future may depend on whether they make it into the Champions League 

Despite Kehl’s assurances, reports in Germany earlier this week insisted hopes of keeping Haaland hinge on Dortmund securing Champions League football for next season, otherwise the situation around the striker will become ‘unreal’.

Haaland has a £65million release clause which becomes active next summer and while Dortmund are determined to keep the striker for at least one more season, there is a growing sense the Champions League holds the key. 

The Norwegian is this season’s Champions League top scorer with 10 goals, and has amassed a staggering 37 goals in 38 games in all competitions.

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